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Глава №12 The fourth floor

Из книги 12 floors_lower. Автор: Джафар Агаев (sevius)


The fourth floor

I didn’t want to open my eyes, because I didn’t want to see a new reality, I knew nothing about that and didn’t want to. I didn’t know where they were taking me, but I was sure that was the fourth floor. I also knew that no one could help me, I had to deal with it alone. My lifeline looks funny, it is not alike bamboo scape.

They were carrying me on stretchers for some more time, then a lock snapped and the stretchers knocked a door. Again, bright light hit my eyes and someone said:

“Here!”

The stretchers scraped for the last time and stopped. I lied silently with my eyes closed. The lock shut with a snap and everything gone silent, only the whiteout of artificial light remained.

I can’t predict how long could I’ve been lying there if I haven’t felt someone’s presence. I opened my eyes, light hit me, but soon everything bounced back. Four men in medical overalls stood over me. They were examining me curiously, then one of them said smiling:

“Don’t you want to give up playing dead and get up? Can you do that?”

I got up; still sitting on the stretchers, I began looking around. Everyone made way for me.

“There is your cot, at the window”, the same patient said.

I looked at the cot. It looked clean and fine, but I suddenly realized that a second ago I saw something that made the hairs on the back of my neck bristle. I switched my gaze back to the cot that was occupied by a tall as a man fish in medical overall. My eyes encircled and I froze.

Everyone gave quiet look at the place where I was looking at.

“Well, he’s been here for a long time”, one of the patients broke silence. “So you can actually see. He talks to no one, he just breathes, breathes upward. That’s what awaiting every incurable person”.

“Incurable?” I asked. “What are you suffering from?”

That boring question found no answer, at first. They began disperse to their cots, while another patient said:

“It depends. Each has his own illness. It is notable that we are here”.

“They say, that you see some strange things and think about something that doesn’t exist”, another one said.

“Who are “they?”

“Everyone”, the said chorally. “Everything you speak about, when you are unconscious, they note. They call it insanity, and it occurs that you will become one of them very soon”.

With these words he turned to the fish breathing upward. The fish gave a look at us.

“If they understand that you rave consciously, it will be a diagnosis; if you rave unconsciously, it will be different diagnosis. Two options – one result”.

“What is yours diagnosis?” I said. The patient sadly downed his head and whispered:

“To be honest, I don’t know”, after a second of silence, he added:

“No one knows, it is disrespectfully to ask”.

“But you were arguing about that a minute ago”, I said.

“Well, I am good in arguing, my parents had told me to be judicious wise”.

I got up and stepped to my cot. I sat down and began thinking. It was strange how calmly I was conceiving it. I don’t know how did I get here, but I didn’t care. Maybe I just got used to it.

On the right cot lied another one. Covered in blanket he was looking at me smiling. We made an eye contact and I mechanically said:

“Don’t you feel hot? It is hot outside. Windows are opened”.

He nodded softly.

“He needs water, he is saving it”, the most talkative said.

“I’m sorry?” I said.

He came to the lying one, raised his blanket slightly and said:

“As you see”.

Scale appeared from under the blanket.

“Fuck!” I said… “Is he..?”

“Not yet, but soon. He is afraid of choking. He knows a lot about fish and he is sure that he wouldn’t not make it without water”.

“What about the one who “breathes upward” Can’t he see that he can live without water?”

“It is another diagnosis”, the talkative one said smiling.

I laughed:

“By the way, I have to admit once again: the windows are opened. You can just escape”.

“What’s the use?” they asked amazed.

“What do you mean what’s the use? – Freedom – you go wherever you want, or swim in some cases”.

Yeah, “there” is likewise, with just one difference – we surrendered by our own will and now we have food and medicaments. While they don’t surrender, and that why they have to look for food and queue for treatment.

“By the way, where is “there?” I asked.

“On the fourth, you are on the fourth, colleague”.

“I’m not your colleague: I’m a military designer, a musician”, I turned it into a joke.

“And you manage to amaze yourself”, the talkative one said. “If you continue joking, you will overgrow with scale”.

The sitting fish switched his gaze to the talkative one upon hearing word “scale”

“Are these doors opened as well?”I specified.

“Of course!” they said chorally. “Why should they close the doors? No one tried to escape voluntarily”, the talkative one said.

“Well, It seems that I will be the first to do it. Alright fish people, see you”.

“Good bye!” they said smiling suspiciously.

I came to the door, grabbed the doorknob and froze.

“Is there something I don’t know?” I said without turning.

“You know everything!” they said.

“I am the only who knows everything”, with these words I opened the door.

Then there was only corridor with many doors. I had to find the elevator. I went through the corridor. Every door was similar to previous one, with no special marks on it, and I didn’t know which one I needed.

I counted few more doors and entered.

A table, papers, things, a doctor, a chair and a man at the door.

“Sit down please; don’t stand on your feet”.

I sat down and decided to take the situation under control:

“So! On my feet or tail, it doesn’t matter. I need elevator”.

The doctor, who was reading some papers, looked at me smilingly and asked:

“Did you hear yourself?”

I frowned and said:

“I’m sorry?”

“That’s why you are here, because you don’t understand what you are talking about. My aim is to find out when has it started and how to put an end to this. From now, you will talk only to me!”

“I don’t mind, actually”, I said. “Let us talk”.

“That mood of yours is good”, the doctor said. He took a pen, opened a register and gaily continued:

“An elevator, the elevator… Let’s begin with this elevator! Do you remember how you stuck in the elevator not long ago, just before arriving here?”

“I do… there were…”

“That’s not what we talking about”, the doctor interrupted me. “Whom were you talking to when you were alone?”

“Hmm, with an elevator operator or a lady from the elevator maintenance team”.

“Good! What was her attitude? Was she talking nervously or angrily, how had she behave?”

“Indifferently, I suppose”, I said. “She was just trying to do her job”.

“Good, but how do you think, did you draw conclusions from these events or did you understand them right way?”

“I don’t know, but I’m trying!”

“Was she helpful? The voice from speakers, how you imagine her?”

“I’m sure she is beautiful, tall and slender, dark hair, green eyes”, I turned it into joke, but imagined a girl from a playboy magazine.

The doctor quickly pulled a drawer and took a grey little box with speakers atop.

“Do you remember your first words and what did she answer?”

“I do! It seems… “Stupid dustbin”.

“Alright, say it now, into the speakers”.

I downed and said:

“Stupid dustbinnn!”

The speakers answered:

“Not a dustbin, bit an elevator! Greetings, what happened to you?!”

“Yes, she answered with the same voice… So what?”

“Nothing. Open this box slowly; it opens like casket. I hope you know what it is”.

I glumly looked at him saying:

“I know!” and opened the box.

My eyebrows raised in surprise.

“What is that?” I said.

“Not what, but who”, – something small answered with pleasant girly voice from the box and added:

“Hello!”

I was looking at this small and cute girl dumfounded. The doctor said:

“Now, close the box, please, and give it to me”.

I closed the box and said gaily:

“You take it doctor, I am too afraid. Who is that Thumbelina?”

“I will tell you next time, but make a promise that you will believe me”.

“I promise!” I smiled ironically.

“But make a promise that you will tell me!”I said gaily.

“Alright, I promise”, the doctor said smilingly and added:

“That’s all for today, now you will go back to your ward”.

“You let me go?” I rejoiced.

“Of course”, the doctor said. “We weren’t holding you. As you can see we don’t hold anyone”.

“What about this one”, I pointed on the guy at the door.

“He is dealing with the door, not with you”, the doctor answered.

“Hm… It was out of the top of my head”, I said guiltily.

“That’s all, go now”.

I got up and headed to the big guy. He opened the door and I went out. There were no corridor anymore, but just a ward. Sound of water from the shower cubicle, steam and two cots by the wall. I entered, chose vacant cot and sat on it…

From the shower cabin, I heard painfully familiar voice:

“So, did you found your place?”

“I don’t know…”, I yelled and took place right to the window.

“Madhouse”, chuckle the one in shower.

“Funny”, I said.

I began thinking: “That fucking doctor lied to me: go now, you are free. Damn it, I am totally lost in these doors.” While I was thinking about that someone in terry robe closed the shower cabin and entered the room toweling his head.

“Hello! Enjoy your steam!” I said.

-”Hi there”, said The Someone.

The Someone threw his towel on the cot near me, once again lightning hit me, I was scared. The Someone was me, that why his voice was painfully familiar.

“We are alike”, I said frightfully.

“Yeah, I know, I heard that”, The Someone said.

“Don’t you see it?” I said jumping from the cot.

“I see, but I don’t know”, The Someone answered.

“That’s like “ I see but don’t recognize?” I asked.

“I know how I look”.

“Do you have mirror here?”

“There is no mirror”, The Someone said.

Indeed, I haven’t seen any mirrors yet, that’s strange.

“So, you look just like me”, I said suddenly cheerfully.

“Ok, I buy it”, murmured The Someone upon looking askance.

“Okay, let’s do what”, he continued. “We have accepted the information, came to terms with it, and continued talking about other subjects'.

“Deal”, I said and fell down my cot.

“So, how are my things?” I said and broke into a laugh.

“You ask as if I am your secretary, I don’t know how are you things”, The Someone answered angrily.

I said nothing. My attitude gone bad somehow. I was attentively looking at “me” and caught a thought: “Either we different or he is just not in mood or four letter man, or he is just too far from me.” Anyway, anger, which suddenly came to me, said:

“Hey you, freak!”

Fake me looked at me in surprise and said:

“Are you talking to me?”

“If I talk to you”, I suddenly realized. “That will change nothing. Anyway, I will be talking to myself”. The Someone was thinking the same. I saw that familiar shine in his eyes, and we both began laughing. When we went normal it was late, the sun was slowly fading behind the trees. The window was opened and wind was tousling curtains like flags. We climbed the windowsill and sad each opposite corner.

“Does it remind you anything?” The Someone asked.

“Childhood, the yard – it smells with flowers and warmth”, I said.

“That’s exactly what you said”, The Someone smiled. “You see kids playing. Look at them and tell me where would you have been if you were their age?”

“Me? Teetering, I suppose”, while I was talking, I switched my eyes to the swings where I was all alone, teetering imperturbable boy observing everyone.

“It’s me… But how is this possible?”

“Tonight there are many you, don’t you feel a noise in the ear?” he joked.

“What?” I said looking front. Everything was spinning and spreading.

“Do you feel a noise in the ear?”

I stood at the microphone with headphones on my head. Tired mechanic was looking at me moving his lips behind the glass. His voice was continuously speaking in my headphones while his lips were moving behind the glass:

“Hey, What’s wrong with you? That was the third recording but you continue stopping at this moment. What a magic moment is it? Back to beginning”.

“Where is me? You know the one who looks like me”.

“What?” the voice said. “Let’s have a smoke, you need a rest”.

I nodded in agree and placed the headphones on the microphone’s leg. I felt broken and tired as if I had no sleep for years. From two opposite doors, my studio manager and I went to the corridor. He took a cigarette and gave it to me upon telling me something. I noticed a loose lace and downed to fasten it. At that time, my studio manager has already been staying at the door to the smoking room. All he was left to do is just enter but he stopped, looked at me and twisting the cigarette said:

“You know, you gaze is detached somehow, when are you going to eat something? I wonder every time…” He paused for a moment and said: “It is interesting but sometimes you scare me”. And entered the smoking room. I was left looking at the door fighting the lace. Light hit me, the door closed. The elevator rolled on down.

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© Copyrignt: Джафар Агаев (sevius), 2020

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